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Atalon Pauline's Cuvee 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
  • WE93
15% ABV
  • WW90
  • RP90
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4.0 1 Ratings
15% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Pauline's Cuvee is made after the wines of the Right Bank. Merlot and Cabernet Franc lead the way to a soft supple wine with lots of character. Dark ruby in color and aromatic notes of dark cherry, plum, currant, integrated sweet oak, spice, toast and tobacco. It has a soft entry with great depth and balance.

This Right Bank styled blend pays homage to the strength of Atalon's matriarch. The aromas and avors of dark berries, cocoa nib, tobacco are underlined by a ne trace of minerality - a nod to the majestic geology of Napa Valley and to Pauline's enduring spirit.

Blend: 77.1% Merlot, 13.7% Cabernet Franc, 5.2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.1% Malbec, 0.9% Petite Verdot

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This Merlot-based blend is a huge success. It's a big, tannic, tight wine, packed to bursting with black cherry liqueur, cola and spice flavors. Yet it maintains an exciting balance, with the tension between acids, tannins and oak in equilibrium. Seems like it wants 5–6 years in the cellar to let it throw some tannins and mellow. Cellar Selection.
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Atalon

Atalon

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Atalon, Napa Valley, California
Image of winery
The soul of the Atalon story is a ghost winery dating back to 1888. Built by General W.S. Keyes, the white-stone building atop Howell Mountain claims a stake in Napa Valley viticultural lore. At the turn of the twentieth century, General Keyes was producing wines considered to be among the best in Napa County from this old landmark.

The famed Howell Mountain property was acquired by the Jackson family in 1996 and renamed the Keyes Vineyard in honor of the early farmer's pioneering viticultural contributions. Today, the historic ghost winery stands as a strong reminder of a 150-year old tradition of growing wine grapes within the thirty-mile stretch of the Napa Valley frontier.

In 1997, Atalon was created to revive the vineyard's past accomplishments and to build on the area's reputation for producing remarkable red wines. Although inspired by ghosts long gone, Atalon wines reflect a modern understanding of farming Napa's rugged mountains and valleys for the most balanced and expressive wines.

Drawing fruit from selected vineyards, the wines are a composite of vineyards stretching from the rolling hills of Napa-Carneros in the south to the peaks of Howell Mountain in the north. Atalon is dedicated to the true essence and flavor of the Napa Valley, a distinction defined by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

LIM369440_2010 Item# 124673